CEPI offers $140 million to support research on COVID-19 vaccines

CEPI has opened a new funding opportunity, providing up to $140 million to support additional clinical research on COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has opened a new funding opportunity, providing up to $140 million, contingent upon the availability of funds, to support the rapid generation of additional clinical research on COVID-19 vaccines. This includes COVID-19 vaccine developers, as well as public health organisations, academic institutions and others who may not be directly carrying out their own COVID-19 vaccine development but have the capacity, ability and partnerships established to carry out research on a chosen vaccine.

Examples of scientific programmes to be supported through the CEPI Purpose of Call include clinical trials in pregnant women, infants and children and immunocompromised populations, as well as studies on booster doses, length of vaccine efficacy, ‘mix and match’ strategies and dosing intervals.

As part of their proposal, applicants must show plans to increase equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine being assessed.

According to CEPI, programmes supported through this Call could advance current COVID-19 immunisation efforts through providing data on demographics and age-groups that may not currently be eligible to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines. If trial assessments indicate COVID-19 vaccines are safe, tolerable and produce an immune response in such populations, data could inform and influence current vaccination rollout strategies around the world to expand access to these key groups. Clinical studies in some age-groups like infants and children could also provide important information on the size of vaccine dose needed to be impactful. 

To have maximal effect in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, applicants should be able to begin their research programmes within three to six months following successful review, with at least interim data to be produced and shared widely before the end of 2021 to inform the ongoing vaccination rollout.

Melanie Saville, Director of Vaccine Research and Development at CEPI, said: “With multiple safe and effective vaccines beginning to be deployed around the world, we are now building the tools to get us out of this unprecedented crisis. However, we must ensure that we continue to generate the crucial evidence to fill in current clinical research and development gaps and understand how these vaccines and others under development can support special populations, respond to novel variants, influence virus transmission and prepare us for future vaccination programmes, for example if there is a need for booster doses.”